Sunday, June 29, 2014


This was just too awesome not to share. He also has a few other "Misconceptions" videos, as well as some other "things explained" videos, that you can find on Mr. Grey's awesome YouTube page.

And by the way, if I could talk this fast, all your kids' heads would have exploded before the end of the year from trying to keep up with me.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Songs We Sing

Alright. I was just driving home. I think I found my song for next year.

I doubt I will have parents who do something this awesome, but what's life without surprises? 

It makes me a little sad, thinking about starting all over. But if it wasn't for starting all over, I never would have had the chance to have you guys (my previous class/classes...).

Every year, I try to choose one of my favorite songs of all time. It's hard to find ones where there are no lyrics that can be considered offensive. Most of them are the kind where you never realized had anything bad in them, but listening to them from a fifth grader's point of view, yeah, they're pretty wrong. Or at least one line is.

Here's my list of songs so far (since the tradition of the song began):
  • 2009/2010: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.*
  • 2010/2011: Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations.
  • 2011/2012: Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones.
  • 2012/2013: Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis.
  • 2013/2014: Here I Go Again On My Own by Whitesnake. 
It's strange to me that my list thus far does not include any Guns 'n' Roses, Beatles, Pearl Jam, Def Leppard, Eagles, U2, or Led Zeppelin in it. The one I have in mind for next year will cross at least one of these bands off of my list.

My goal is to have a song where, when a former student hears it randomly on the radio, they will think immediately back to their year in 5-1 and hopefully smile. The people around them will have no idea what they're grinning about. But I would at least hope that they will think of dorky in-jokes that we had in the class. Dorky in-jokes are what make an experience to me. The kind that make you smile, but that can't be explained to anyone else around.

Like stories from your family or summer camp or your fifth grade class.

Okay, with my class, it's at least the first and third in that list.

*This one only happened because my class spontaneously broke out into song one day during work time. It was one of those glorious experiences that any great teacher (plus a dork like me) dreams of. The synergy in your classroom has reached this point. This class wanted to perform it at the talent show, but they were nixed because of the line that says, "Smell of wine and sweet perfume." That's when I said this needed to be a tradition, and that I needed to be pretty selective with what I chose as that year's song.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anything Goes For Now

Okay, so all you kids who actually sit through this, it will look embarrassingly archaic. But your parents and I all lived through this age.

It's kind of funny that this is nostalgia. When I was a kid, "nostalgia" was for the introduction of the Beatles and a country led by President Kennedy. You know, things that happened long before I was born.

But thinking back twenty years ago from now, we're looking at things that I still remember clearly: Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, the death of Kurt Cobain, and the whole O.J. Simpson debacle. And, of course, he dawn of the internet.

I remember being at Purdue (which, objectively speaking, is a very high-tech school) when email was first a thing. ("Electronic Mail", in case you were wondering...) I had to go to the Math Building on campus to submit a request for an email account. After three or four days, I had to go back to the Math Building, where I received my little card with my email address on it, along with my password. Of course, this was after standing in line for an hour, and probably missing a class in order to get it.  I was so excited when I got it.

Purdue had several computer labs, but I remember sitting in them and waiting and waiting for my address and password to go through, and then being able to check my email. Imagine sitting there for ten to fifteen minutes and then having no new email.

Of course, I'm telling you this in a day when your phones buzz any time you get a new email. This was years before Facebook (or its predecessor MySpace), Twitter, or (ugh) Instagram. This just goes to show that we've come a long time in twenty years.

It's crazy to think where we'll be twenty years from now.

I feel old, but wise. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lightning Flashes

This is amazing. I had to share this via Radio Lab. It's every lightning strike in North America in real time. As I type this, it's going crazy.

Click here to be drawn in to the addiction of watching it. Try not to be too unnerved by the eerie electric sizzle that happens every time lighting strikes somewhere.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Artist

Happy Birthday to Lara!

Lara was quite possibly my most creative student this last year. Lara is a poet, an artist, and a gifted writer. She could take a mundane assignment and breathe life into it. For instance, I literally rifled through the spelling meaning exercises every week to find hers and grade it first. It was a pure pleasure to see what kind of sentences and what kinds of elaborate pictures she could concoct for the spelling words. 

Lara, I still have your picture (The Watchful Girl), and I am planning to put it on my wall of art in the back of the room. It's been five or six years since I've added anything to that wall. But the conversation we had when you explained that picture to me is one that I've told other teachers and friends many times since. 

Hope you had a fantastic birthday, Lara. You deserve it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Everything Is Awesome

At this point, I have no idea if anyone is still reading or not. I'm going to go ahead and keep writing, though. Just in case anyone is. And if not, then maybe next year's class will be able to look back on it and get--I don't know--something out of it.

I watched The Lego Movie this evening. I bought it on a whim while checking out at Meijer earlier (doggone marketing experts putting it right there at the check-out line).

I love this movie.

I guarantee this will be one of the "four choices" my students will get next year...IF they get enough pattern block shapes to fill up the water bottle.

Quote from this masterful movie:

The prophecy is made up. But it's also true. It's about all of us. Right now, it's about you. And you...still...can change everything.

It is so full of grown-up, geeky in-jokes about Star Wars, Batman, and Legos that you kiddos might not get until you're older. It's not that they're the dirty kind of jokes, just "mature" jokes (about Legos). (And yes, I know that the "proper" plural of "Lego" is "Lego", but that just sounds plain pretentious. I hate it when people do that.)

That having been said, the message is right there. Rebel against the instructions. As long as you can make it more awesome, that's the only thing that will ever change anything for the better. I could go into the conglomerates ("Taco Tuesday", anyone?) and the media/entertainment/news corporations, but I won't (or did I?).  

This was a fantastic movie. Highly recommended on the off-chance that any of you haven't seen it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hi, Friend

I was riding in the car with my dad a couple days ago, and I found this CD in his car.

This is a real thing. 

I had to take a picture of it when I was at my parents' house today for Fathers Day so that I could post it here. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars

237 years ago on this date, the Second Continental Congress adopted the stars and stripes as our national flag, marking the first Flag Day.

Hope everyone is having a great Flag Day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Well I Ain't Superstitious and I Don't Get Suspicious

Well, I'm not sure if you heard about it or not, but this teacher of astronomy stayed up to get a view of the "Honey Moon" tonight. The Honey Moon hasn't been seen in almost 100 years. It's a full moon that happens on a certain date (hey, I'm not that much of an expert) in June. And evidently, it hasn't happened in a long time.

I can tell you one thing: I'm always thankful when we have a full moon and we're not in school. Call me a superstitious fool, but kids always go crazy when there's a full moon.

Students: Admit it. At some point today, you got emotional or crazy for no reason. Or you went hyper-crazy. Or hormonal. Okay, so this isn't so different from a normal day. But you have to admit that it was a little more heightened today than normal.

Come on. Admit it. I love you guys, but you have to admit it.

But today in Hamilton County, Indiana, it's too cloudy to seen the Honey Moon. It doesn't matter. You still went a little crazy today.

You know it's true. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Happy Birthday to Catherine! Catherine is one of those students who isn't done with me yet. She is a butt-kicking student where I teach karate. She leveled out of my class for the longest time, but now she's not too far of from promoting into one of the classes I teach once again. 

Don't let her sweet smile and diminutive size fool you; she can take you down!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monster and Squid

I have it on good word that these two gentlemen are down at Ransburg Scout Camp this week, but maybe this will be a nice surprise when they get back...

Either that...

...or it will fill them...

...with FRIGHT!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Midnight Crossing

Well, it was a late night last night as I walked in the rain for Relay for Life. I found a few other team members there--Evan and his family were there as well between the hours of midnight and 1am. It rained on us, but not too hard.

It was awesome to see some other people from 5-1's past. Brian Alexander was there (thanks for the Reds tickets, man!), and I spoke briefly with Josh Alford as well. It's always good to see the old guys getting as tall as I am. I believe Mitchel was supposed to have been there earlier with his dad as the DJ.

It was a dark, rainy night, but it was nonetheless a worthy cause to help in the fight against cancer. Thanks to everyone who donated and/or went out to walk for Woodbrook (I don't know who all you are, I hate to admit!).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What You Are

“Kids don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
                                                           ― Jim Henson

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coach's Words

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

    --John Wooden

Wise words from one of the wisest men who has ever lived, in my humble opinion. I have a personal trinity of inspirational people in my life: Fred Rogers, Sparky Anderson, and John Wooden.

As a teacher (and as a coach), I try to instill these words into my work. I find that it gets easier year after year. Every now and then I get a little bit of a challenge.

I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Well, I'm embarrassed. One of the last things I told Jack--before we left us a week early to move to Arizona--was that I would put a post up for his birthday. That was last Tuesday, May 27. Profoundest apologies, Jack! I guess not having you there to remind me during "Happy News" has caused my feeble mind to slip once again.

Jack is a keen observer of oddities of everyday life. He would often come to me and say, "Mr. Carter, you know what's weird?" And anytime he made an observation like that, he was right. During the last week of school, we definitely missed his dry wit and his hockey flow.

Hopefully he peeks in at this blog at some point after being snubbed on the 27th. Hope you are having a dry, hot summer down there, Jack.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Every Brady's Confidant

This one is for Katelyn C.

Ann B. Davis, who played Alice the housekeeper on our favorite 70's TV show, has died at the age of 88. It sounds like she lived a very full life. As Alice, she played not only the Brady resident homemaker, but also the wacky but wise older sister/aunt figure to the rest of the cast.

You will be missed, Mrs. Ann B. Davis! Thanks for years of teaching us to always look on the positive side, to not take ourselves too seriously, and to laugh wherever possible.